Northern leaders unite
behind 30 year draft Strategic Transport Plan
CIVIC and business leaders from across
the North of England have agreed a draft Strategic Transport Plan, to be
published for public consultation early in the new year, which outlines the
transport infrastructure needed to transform the Region's economy.
Calling for sustained prioritised investment in the Region's railways and roads
over a 30 year period, it will transform the economy by improving the way both
people and goods travel around the North of England.
The draft Plan will be subject to a 13 week public consultation early in
2018 and will be submitted to the Government in due course for Ministerial
consideration. It will identify 7 'corridors' where transport
improvements are needed to allow businesses to grow and job prospects to be
increased. It also highlights 2 Pan-Northern priorities for investment:
Northern Powerhouse Rail and Integrated and Smart Travel.
The corridors, which are currently in need of improved connectivity, link
important assets and major economic centres. For example, the:-
'Connecting the Energy Coasts' corridor will explore ways to improve connectivity between
some of the UK's important non-carbon energy and research assets within:- Cumbria,
Lancashire, North Yorkshire, the North East and Tees Valley.
Building on the current high levels of road and rail investment in the North,
the plan identifies shorter and medium-term priorities. In the shorter term,
contactless smart ticketing across the North will make paying for travel and
sourcing information on public transport easier for passengers. In the
medium term, Northern Powerhouse Rail will provide rapid, regular and reliable
East West rail connections to complement the improved North South connections
which will be offered by HS2.
The cost of the 30 year plan is estimated to equate to less than ₤150 per
northern citizen per year, or ₤2 billion to 2.3 billion per year. This figure also includes
spending which would already be expected as part of ongoing strategic transport
investment in the North, with only ₤50 per person per year (₤700 million to 900 million per
year) additional spending.
John Cridland, TfN Chairman, said:- "Transport for the North's vision is
of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive
economic growth and support an excellent quality of life. Our plans would
revolutionise travel around the North, particularly East West links which have
previously not received enough attention, and, by extension, will improve how
the Region does business. For decades, the North has underperformed compared to
the rest of England. Robust evidence shows that investing in quality
infrastructure, as well as in other important areas such as education, skills
development and research, could lead to more than 850,000 additional jobs in the
North by 2050 and ₤100 billion additional Gross Value Added. Although what we're
looking at is investment in our roads and railways, this isn't just about
transport. It's about ensuring that the North of England is a thriving Region
where people can learn, build a career and enjoy an excellent quality of life."
The Northern Powerhouse Rail network will provide rapid and reliable rail links
between the North's major Cities, revolutionising the way in which people can
move around the Region.
A Strategic Outline Business Case for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network will
be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport by the end of 2018, but
Transport for the North will outline its emerging vision for the network within
the draft Strategic Transport Plan. This includes the ways in which Northern
Powerhouse Rail will interact with HS2 and the best options for each part of the
network based on work undertaken to date.
The Government recently confirmed funding to ensure that planned HS2
infrastructure can accommodate the future needs of the Northern Powerhouse Rail
network. Transport for the North will be working with HS2 to ensure that the
following requirements are recognised in the HS2 Phase 2b plans:-
► Junctions in the Leeds area, enabling trains
from Manchester, Sheffield and the Midlands to travel via Leeds and on to York,
Teesside and the North East. This could also release capacity for more local and commuter services east of Leeds
► Junctions in Cheshire to serve Liverpool via a
new line, enabling services between Liverpool and Manchester via the HS2
Manchester spur, and offering the potential for faster Liverpool to London HS2
► Junctions at Manchester Piccadilly which,
combined with a range of other interventions, would enable services from
Manchester Airport and Liverpool to use either an underground Northern
Powerhouse Rail through station or a surface turn back station to continue east
towards Leeds and the North East
► A junction north of Sheffield at Clayton,
enabling trains to run through Sheffield and re-join the HS2 mainline to Leeds.
Transport for the North is working to introduce new initiatives that will make
travelling on public transport easier and quicker for passengers across the
North. This will enhance choice and ensure passengers pay prices that are fair
for the journeys they have made. It is hoped that this will increase the number
of people travelling by public transport and broaden people's access to jobs.
Last month the Government approved ₤18.5 million of funding for the first phase
of this programme, to introduce smart ticketing for rail season ticket holders
in the North next year.
Northern leaders are setting out the North's priorities for strategic road
investment in Highways England's long term plans and, in particular, for further
work to be done to investigate a long term solution to the poor road links
across the Southern Pennines, between South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
Transport for the North has begun work with Highways England and the Department
for Transport to explore how a revised proposal for the Trans Pennine Tunnel
could provide better value for money and deliver enhanced benefits; offering
more rapid and reliable road links across the Southern Pennines from Liverpool
to Hull. This proposal would see a shorter tunnel than originally proposed under
the Pennines, combined with major upgrades to the Woodhead Pass route and new
road links east of Sheffield. Environmental considerations are of the utmost
concern with this project.
The Plan also includes an update of the Long Term Rail Strategy outlining
priorities for investment in lines, stations, services and franchise operations
across the whole of the North's railways to deliver greater connectivity,
capacity and cost effectiveness. This reflects the planned integration of Rail
North into Transport for the North when it becomes a statutory body in 2018.
Transport for the North is set to become England's 1st Sub National Transport
Body in the next few months, with the legislation giving the body statutory
status expected in Parliament shortly.
Transport for the North will be publishing the draft plan, on Tuesday, 16 January
2018, with a public consultation on the Plan running from mid-January to early